Penalty Rates Cut
Ross Greenwood: Everyone there’s an interest rate decision today – expected to be on hold – will shortly explain why the moods changing, why there’s an outside chance the rate cut…though, not today.
Elsewhere, the debate about weekend penalty rates will run all the way to the next federal election.
This follows the independent workplace umpire, the Fair Work Commission, ruling the penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays will be reduced in key industries, notably in hospitality and retail.
It seems that everybody is not really all that happy.
The unions have already started advertising campaigns in regional areas, targeting independent and tightly held marginal seats, including those of Cathy McGowan, George Christensen and Ann Sudmalis.
This is because Labor will oppose the penalty rate cuts even though Labor leader Bill Shorten last year emphatically said on Radio 3AW it would abide by Fair Work Commission ruling.
This is a conversation between Shorten and Neil Mitchell – how it went…
Neil – Will you accept their findings, giving this as an independent body assessing penalty rates odds for Sunday, if you’re Prime Minister?
Shorten – Yes.
Mitchell – you’ll accept them?
Shorten – Yes
Labor, it seems, has changed its mind.
It hasn’t properly explained why…
Remember, also many workers with big organizations don’t receive penalty rates now because their employers, some of the biggest companies in Australia, did pay deals with unions and traded away those weekend penalty rates.
Retail and Pharmacy workers Sunday rates will fall from 175 per cent to 150 per cent by July 2020.
Now, voice of reason in all this is Martin Ferguson, the ex long-time Labor minister and president of the ACTU.
He’s now chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia, an employer body, but he says though the decision was tough it is fair, and that logic and long-term vision ultimately have won out.
Today there’s also the annual minimum wage decision by the Fair Work Commission – some of a bit curious to see, in light of that penalty rate decision if this is unusually generous.
The Dow Jones down by 22 points. The dollar 74.9 US cents